Author Topic: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?  (Read 68751 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2006, 09:50:13 AM »
Waz,

All things considered, I think you did a terrific job. I mean, just look at the photos. If you hadn't indicated which photos were which I don't think I could have told the difference based on the Donatos photos you posted. I thought the toughest part of the project would be getting the right degree of crispiness and bottom coloring of the crust. Yet, it looks like you nailed it the first time out. I agree that that is a significant accomplishment. 

As I previously indicated, the protocol for handling the skin leaves much to be desired. Now you can see why I suggested the use of a solid cutter pan. Yet I am confident that we will be able to develop a "system" for handling the skins.

Just looking at your dough and skin, it strike me that the dough was considerably wetter than mine, at every stage. Except for the flour, water and egg, which I weighed on my scale, I used the volume measurements for the rest of the ingredients. I have a second scale that can weigh those ingredients in very small quantities, but I have found that the volume measurements are quite close. This isn't surprising since I use very accurate data for converting weights of those ingredients to volumes.

It's quite possible that the dough got too much fermentation--between the time spent in the refrigerator (50 hours), the time on the bench warming up (1 hour), and the proofing in the oven (1/2 hour). Next time, you may want to use, say, 24 hours cold fermentation, and possibly skip the 1 hour on the bench. Summer time can be quite hard on doughs.

Your skin also looks a lot thinner than mine. Mine had no transparency at all, even when I was lifting the dough. So, there are some issues here that will have to be resolved. But, once resolved, I think you will see that the skin handling protocol will resolve itself, or at least be much better than what you experienced. It looks like the dough has to be on the dry side to survive the multiple flipping/docking protocol.

Once you get the dough management and baking protocol under better control, I think you will be able to do a better comparison with the Donatos style pizza. Getting the sauce and pepperoni right will also be a step forward because it won't be a distraction from the crust, which also has to be right if you are to be happy with it.

I am optimistic that you will get closer to the goal you have set for yourself. There may well be some need to adjust the dough formulation, but the best time to do that is when you have licked the dough management issues.

Peter





Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2006, 02:08:43 PM »
Hi there Pete! Yes, I was really, really happy with the bottom of the crust! And like you said that's gotta be one of the most difficult aspects, so having that to start with was nice.

I definitely have to fix the dough management and I've got some ideas. As for the "summer" messing with the dough, that definitely could have had something to do with it. It's been over 100 - or at least in the upper 90s - here lately, and it was VERY hot in my kitchen when working with the dough. Although in Denver, even when it's hot, it's rarely ever humid so I've never thought of cutting back on the water much. Although I'll probably do that to begin with next time.

A couple other interesting notes I found while doing some more research during lunch today:
Pepperoni - I won't spend much time on this subject since it should really be in another forum (I've already started looking through the site) but I found this quote from a Donatos spokeman.

Quote
"Donatos originated the 'Edge to Edge' pizza, which doesn't have a rim of dough," says company spokesman Tom Santor. "As a result, we can put at least 100 pieces of pepperoni on each large 14-inch pepperoni pizza. The pepperoni goes on top of a layer of aged smoked provolone - we don't use mozzarella cheese - so it can cook properly and so the flavors blend well. Thanks to the proprietary formula for our pepperoni, which is about 25 percent leaner than most, the finished pizza has 'edge-to-edge' coverage without excessive oil."

That was another thing I noticed about the brands I used last night - they were pretty oily, and the pizza overall was pretty oily as well.

The other quote I found on dough management (this was in an interview with Grote that took place AFTER he bought the company back from McD's):

Quote
McDonald’s also freed Grote to focus on food, which he calls his strong suit. When asked whether Donatos’ pizza was changed while under McDonald’s – as many long-time Donatos customers insist it was - he chuckled.
"It’s horse hockey," he said. "That’s what I was most nervous about after the acquisition, especially with our classic thin crust. The only thing we did was developed a proofing system that proofed it longer and gave it a little more flavor. We’ve got the same dough recipe, the same sauce, the same pepperoni - those specs are tied in as tight as you can tie them."


Oh, and one more note on your thoughts - yes, the dough was very transparent and I was very scared I was going to tear it all up and be finished before I started. When I first rolled it out it wasn't that thin and transparent, but with all the problems I had in trying to get the dough from one surface to another (it would stick, and stretch, and fold over on itself - like working with a big sheet of plastic wrap that keeps sticking to itself  :D ) by the end it was just horribly thinned out and transparent like that. I might try using the cutter pan to proof in next time so I can lay the dough over it and cut it nicely into the pan. Then I should more easily be able to flip it out onto the disk, especially if I make sure the cutter is oiled well enough before using it.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2006, 02:19:21 PM by Wazatron »

Offline pkasten

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2006, 10:48:03 PM »
a quick stab at the xanthan gum thing..  i might be a bit off base, but i've got a quick observation to share.  the stuff is pretty cool.  it's a powerful thickener that gelatinizes at temperatures as low as the mid 30's F.  by the way, great job on the pizza.  i have family in ohio, and have enjoyed donatos on a few occasions...

i just noticed that you seemed to get a lot more sauce penetration of the dough, and think that the xanthan gum may be difference.  my guess is that the thicker, more gelatinous sauce doesn't seep into the dough quite as much.


-paul

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2006, 11:33:35 PM »
Paul,

You may be correct on the Xanthan gum. Donatos has the dough management down to a science, and to be able to operate at high volumes they will usually find it necessary to use all kinds of additives and preservatives in their doughs and sauces to achieve those volumes on a consistent basis. My recollection is that Donatos pre-sauces and maybe pre-cheeses their skins. If the pre-sauced skins sit around too long, the sauce can migrate into the dough and create a gum line. Using a thickened sauce reduces that likelihood or at least slows it down enough for their purposes. That may be where the Xanthan gum comes into the picture. I completely missed that point before. Good thinking, Paul. Of course, that shouldn't be a problem for Waz in a home setting, but it helps explain the possible purpose for using the Xanthan gum.

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2006, 10:44:34 AM »
Yee-haw! I was able to try out the Donatos pizza again last night and made significant gains. There’s still work to be done, and I’d like to ask for some advice on direction at this point, but it’s getting closer and closer!

First of all I made some changes to the dough recipe based on how wet my dough was last time. Here’s what I did:

•   Bread Flour - 202 g
•   Water – a tiny bit more than 1/3 cup (down from ½ cup)
•   Egg - .75 oz (up from .5 oz)
o   This might have really just added the water I took out back in, but I was curious if I’d get a better golden color on the crust (not that we were very far off though)
•   Vegetable oil – 1 ½ t (down from 1 ¾)
•   Salt – 5/8 t
•   Dried Dairy Whey – very full 1t
•   Nonfat dry milk – 2 ¼ t
•   Sugar ½ t
•   IDY 1/3 t

Same prep procedure. The dough was less wet, which was nice. It got a 24 rise in the fridge. However… the dough didn’t rise very much at all and was very tough to roll out. I had a pretty decent rise with the last one.

Dough Management:
Once I got the dough rolled out to 14” on a heavier-floured counter I placed it over my cutter pan and cut it out with my rolling pin into the pan. The pan was well oiled with veg oil, but not so much that oil would roll around and pool if you picked up and tilted the pan.

It got a 40 min. proof in the oven with 6 cups of water at 190 degrees (got impatient at getting it to 200).

I did have some problems at this point. The dough had a nice moist vacuum seal and was very, very stuck to the cutter pan. Before really trying to get it out I again oiled the back (sprayed it with pam olive oil) and sprinkled on the cornmeal. Then I put the disk on top and flipped it over and tried to tap it out. No good. I had to get a spatula and lift up the edges before I got enough loose that gravity helped pull the rest out.

It fell on to the disk a bit folded in parts, so I again had to stretch it out a bit but not as bad as last time – no transparency. Also, instead of trying to gather up the edges back onto the disk, I just cut off any overhang to avoid big edges.

The dough was pretty moist from the proofing, but in good shape. I then sauced and topped.

This time I started the oven out at 450 and went up to 475 when the pizza went in. My aim was to cook it hotter and quicker to avoid over-cooking the cheese. However, this time I overcooked the pizza. It was just too hot. I burned the bottom a bit (pics below).

Result:
This was a great attempt! The bottom was still spot on, other than the burnt-ness (pics below). The flavor was really, really great. Without having a real Donatos side-by-side it’s hard to say exactly how close it was, but it was very very very close!!! The extra egg really helped pull out the flavor. The other great success was the “top” of the cooked dough. The top had a soft spongy feel to it, and didn’t “hold” onto the sauce as much (though I think a lot of that problem was my last sauce). Very successful!!

Problems:
Not too many really. The biggest problem was that the dough was still waaay too thin. While the bottom was still good and the top was perfect, there was no middle-strata layer with that soft English-muffin kind of consistency.

Like I said I had trouble rolling it out, and to get it to 14” it was just too thin to begin with, and I got no real rise I the cooking. So I’m guessing I need more yeast? Or maybe just more dough overall so 14” rolled out isn’t as thin? I’m not sure which way to go here.

The sauce was much better too. After some experimenting I’m very happy with the following:
•   1 6oz can tomato paste
•   1 6oz can (same can) of water
•   1 ½ t sugar
•   1 t salt
•   1 t basil
•   1/8 t paprika

I’m sure more tinkering can be done for an even more authentic flavor, but it was the perfect consistency, went on nice and thin with a bright color, and had a wonderful Donatos flavor!! The biggest difference this time was that I cooked the last one (not sure why, looking back) whereas I just mixed this together when I made the dough and let it sit in the fridge overnight as well. Good stuff!

Questions:
So along with the dough ingredient/quantity questions above I’m also not sure which direction I should go with cooking time. It’s still more of an “orange” pizza than Donatos ever is, which makes me think it’s still cooking too long, but I’m pretty sure those conveyors take like 14 min. to cook the pizza, so I’m not sure how they get away with it. And the pizza is still too flat, without that nice chewy middle strata.

The best part of the evening was when my girlfriend got home and the first thing she said was “It smells like Donatos in here!” Always a good sign!!! haha

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2006, 01:36:39 PM »
Waz,

I'm glad to read that you are still moving forward even though some improvements are still required. It is especially good to know that the flavors are very close to a Donatos pizza, which is, of course, a very significant accomplishment, along with achieving the degree of crispiness and crust browning characteristic of the Donatos style. After reviewing your comments, here are my thoughts and suggestions:

1) I think we should stick with the increased amount of eggs. Having looked more closely recently at the Donatos photos you provided, especially the crust color, I tentatively came to the conclusion that Donatos was more likely using more eggs than we elected to start with. The threshhold level to detect eggs in a finished crust is about 5% by weight of flour, and we elected to use 7%. But, since Donatos makes a big deal about the eggs, I suspect they use more than 7%.

2) You might want to try using a bromated all-purpose flour, as I did with the initial Donatos dough clone. Donatos uses a bromated flour, and the bromate helps to maintain the rise in a dough that is subjected to proofing before dressing and baking. That may account for the "English muffin" effect you mentioned. Using an all-purpose flour may require using a bit less water but that shouldn't be a problem. If you'd rather stick with the bread flour, that is OK also, since we can make adjustment to dough thickness in other ways, as noted below.

3) You might consider going back to a 2-day fermentation period to make the dough a bit more extensible and easier to roll out. Another possibility is to increase the yeast a bit. Maybe we can do some of both. My recollection is that the Donatos dough clones I made didn't rise that much either, but I had no trouble rolling the dough out. You didn't indicate how elastic the dough was, but usually if you let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, the gluten will relax enough to be able to roll the dough out more easily. Sometimes you need a couple such rest periods. If you describe what you experienced more fully, that should help tell us which way to go.

4) You still need a better "system" for handing the dough skin. One possibility is to make a 14-15" round out of cardboard, place a sheet of parchment paper on it, lightly oil it, and place the rolled out, docked skin on top of the parchment paper. This assembly can then go into the oven with the heated water for proofing purposes. When the proofing is complete, you should be able to oil the top of the skin, dust it with cornmeal, flip it over onto your perforated disk, and peel off the parchment paper. The cardboard round should serve to provide support for the skin when doing the flipping. Another possibility is to just use your cutter pan and bake the pizza directly in the pan, just as I did in my Donatos clones. That will eliminate the flipping process entirely and allows you to push the cheeses and toppings right out to the edge. But I will understand if you want to try to emulate the Donatos system using your perforated disk.

5) It is possible to increase the dough thickness to try to get a thicker crust. However, when I made the last Donatos pizza, my recollection is that I used just about all of the dough. So, unless the scrap was minimal in your case, you might want to think twice about increasing the dough thickness. Increasing the dough thickness will give you greater flexibility in rolling out the dough to the desired size and will allow for some scrap. However, doing this may lead to inconsistent results with inconsistent dough thickness. If you still think that you want a thicker crust, I would suggest using a thickness factor of 0.085 rather than the current 0.08. We can always reverse this decision the next time based on the results you get.

6) I would suggest returning to the temperatures we used before, that is, starting out with the higher temperature and going to the lower temperature, not the reverse as you did. If that leads to problems with the cheese cooking too fast, we can revisit the temperature protocol at that time. I tend to doubt that Donatos uses a 14-minute bake time. In fact, if memory serves me correct, they make a big deal about how fast the pizza gets to the table after the order is placed.

7) I won't attempt to rework the baker's percents until we develop the next phase of the plan. So, if you tell me how you think you would like to go, I think I should be able to come up with a modified dough formulation to use for the next round.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 11:02:58 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Flagpull

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2006, 01:11:46 AM »
GAH!

I just got offered a new job, so things have been crazy around the house.

I'll have to work on this later...PLEASE don't stop working and improving this, i'll be around, I promise.

Philip

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2006, 11:50:46 AM »
Haha - hey there Phillip, don't worry, I'll keep working. ;) Though I'm out of town this weekend so it'll be a few days before I can try again.

Okay, here's some extra info from my last experiment.

1) Bromated flour - I did some research on this just so I knew exactly what it was and I actually found a number of articles about it being a possible carcinogen and that it's banned in some countries! What's your guys' opinions on this? I also saw that King Artur flour has a self-rising flour which they seem to be promoting as an alternative to bromated flour. Is this correct? Would this kind of flour work the same as bromated? I'd definitely like to try one of these flours and see what kind of a difference it makes.

2) The first dough was pretty elastic, but this last time (24 hour rise) was not very elastic at all. And yeah I had to do two 5-minute rest periods, which did help loosen it up and made a big difference in getting it rolled out. I think I'll go back to the 2-day fermentation period as well.

3) I love the idea of using parchment paper! That should do the trick, as far as helping to more easily flip and and so forth. I'm still going to cook it on the disk, as I'm so happy with the bottom of the crust I don't want to really deviate from that.

4) So as far as direction from here, based on your help and advice I'd have to say more eggs is good, bromated/self-rising four is a must for testing, parchment for management, and back to a lower cooking temp.

Also I'll be going back to Columbus later this month for work so I'll be able to sample the real deal again soon!! :)

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #58 on: August 04, 2006, 12:32:46 PM »
Waz,

I recently researched the bromate issue again and reported on the results at Reply 39 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3399.msg28979.html#msg28979. As noted in that post, the issue seems to have received the greatest attention nationally in California. I wouldn't use the self-rising flour since it uses a chemical leavening system. If after you have perfected the Donatos clone dough formulation to your satisfaction, you can always try the self-rising flour as an experiment.

For the time being, I will stay with the bread flour and more eggs. I think I may also go with a slightly larger thickness factor of 0.085 and use a bit more yeast. I should be able to come up with a new set of baker's percents and ingredient quantities for you to consider over the weekend.

Peter


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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #59 on: August 05, 2006, 07:18:14 PM »
Waz,

Based on our recent posts, I have revised the basic Donatos clone dough formulation as follows:

Wazatron's 14-inch Donatos Clone Dough Formulation (Rev. 4)
100%, Bread flour (KA), 7.50 oz. (212.34 g.), 1 3/4 c. + 2 t. (stir, spoon and level technique)
54%, Water*, 4.04 oz. (114.66 g.), 1/2 c.
10.8%, Eggs, 0.81 oz. (22.93 g.), about 1/2 of a large egg
3.5%, Vegetable oil, 0.26 oz. (7.43 g.), a bit over 1 1/2 t.
1.7%, Salt, 0.13 oz. (3.61 g.), a bit over 5/8 t.
1.7%, Dried dairy whey, 0.13 oz. (3.61 g.), a bit over 1 1/8 t.
1.5%, Nonfat dry milk (supermarket Carnation), 0.11 oz. (3.19 g.), a bit over 2 1/8 t.
1%, Sugar, 0.07 oz. (2.12 g.), a bit over 1/2 t.
0.50%, Instant dry yeast (IDY), 0.04 oz. (1.06 g.), a bit over 1/3 t.
Total dough weight = 13.08 oz. (370.95 g.)
Pizza size = 14 inches
Thickness factor (TF) = 0.085
* Temp. adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 75 degrees F
Note: All measurements are standard U.S./metric

Please note the following in respect of the latest formulation:

1) I increased the eggs to 10.8%, by weight of flour, to give more color to the crust and add a bit more egg flavor.

2) I lowered the hydration to 54% to compensate for the water in the egg and to maintain the total hydration of the formulation at around 62%. I suspect you may be experiencing the effects of high elevation so you may not need all of the formula water and may want to adjust the hydration to suit your particular situation. The way I recommend that you do this is as follows: a) weigh the empty Pyrex measuring cup and note its value, b) tare out the weight of the Pyrex measuring cup, c) weigh out the water (don't use a volume measurement), d) add about 3/4 of the water to the bowl, e) after the various dough ingredients have been mixed and the dough achieves a rough mass, gradually add more water as needed to achieve the final, desired hydration, adding the water a teaspoon at a time, f) when done, weigh the Pyrex measuring cup with the remaining water in it and note the value. At this point, we can subtract the weight of the empty Pyrex cup (from a) above) from the value from f) and then subtract this value from the formula water to tell us the total amount of water you actually used. I could have lowered the hydration in the dough formulation itself, but doing this may create problems for Philip or others who may be at much lower elevation. Going through the steps a) through f) above will enable me to give you your own personalized formulation unique to your particular situation.

3) The oil was lowered to 3.5%, by weight of flour, to correspond to your lowered usage when you made your most recent dough ball.

4) The thickness factor was increased to 0.085 to address the thickness problem you mentioned. With a bit more dough, you may find it easier to roll out the dough to the desired 14-inch skin size. Please note whether increasing the dough thickness solves the problem. If you end up with scrap dough, please note its weight for future reference.

5) I left the yeast (IDY) quantity at 0.50% by weight of flour because of your elevation situation and on the assumption that you will be using a roughly 2-day cold fermentation. If you decide that you would like to go to a 1-day cold fermentation, you can increase the IDY a bit, to a total of about 1/2 t.  Or you can use a slightly higher finished dough temperature of about 80 degrees F (e.g., by using slightly warmer water). If you can, please note the finished dough temperature before you put the dough in the refrigerator, for future reference. 

Feel free to ask any questions before actually proceeding with your next dough batch.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 11:41:47 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #60 on: August 20, 2006, 03:21:30 PM »
Hi there Pete and all – well it’s been a while since I’ve been able to try the latest formulation but I was finally able to do some testing this weekend, and I’ve had some crazy problems this time around. I’ve taken a lot of pictures to document everything so hopefully that’ll help as well. With all the pictures I took I went ahead and posted them on my website – I’ll refer to specific numbers as I go through my description below.
http://www.wasylik.com/badza/

The problem I’m having at this point is hydration. In mixing the dough it seems with one drop of water I go from a dry-crumblie dough to an over-moist gooie mess.

The first dough I made I followed your directions and held some water out when mixing, only adding as needed. I ended up adding all but 1/4oz of the 4.04 oz. However, it was too much. The last teaspoon turned the dough from dry to gooie mess almost instantly. I added maybe 1/6th cup of flour to try and counter this, and got it to the point where it was handleable without completely sticking to my fingers.

I got the dough rounded up and into a container for the 2-day cold fermentation. I got a decent rise, but the dough was still very wet and sticky (IMG_2569 & IMG_2570).

I had no problems rolling it out (2571-2573), but it again stuck pretty well to the work surface and I had a hard time “pulling” it up and getting onto the parchment. I did spray down the parchment with PAM as well. You can see that the dough got kind of tangled up in getting it onto the parchment (IMG_2574).

I pulled it back into shape on the disk and cut off the overhang to get a nice pizza round (2575-2577). I then put it into the oven with 6-cups of 200 degree water for a 30 minute proof.

The proofing step basically turned the whole pie into a round slab of glue!!  :o It was VERY difficult to flip the dough without tearing/stretching the dough – and once I did get it flipped over the parchment was SO stuck to the dough in most places that there was simply no way to peel it off. I was forced to scrap the dough and start over (2578-2579).

I dove in right away to making a new dough. I decided to stick with just 3 oz of water total. However the dough was obviously way way too dry to work with, so I added ¼ oz to the mixing bowl. It was still dry so I added another ¼ oz to the bowl and pow! It was a messy gooie blob again. I could tell already that it would basically give me the same result as before, so I once again started over (2580- 2582).

This time I decided to stay put at 3 and ¼ oz water regardless of how it looked. The dough in the bowl ended up being dry as I expected and never came into its own ball. I had to smoosh it together and work it into a ball before putting it into the container for its fermentation (2583- 2585).

Unfortunately this is where I’m at – this dough is still in the refrigerator, and though it will only be around a 30-hour fermentation I will be cooking it up tonight. I’m hoping that this dough will be easier to work with, from a “sticky” perspective. All I can figure is that the higher egg content plus the high-protein in the four just makes for really good glue. Haha.

I’ll be taking more pictures tonight and will post the results of the cooking as soon as I can. This is turning into a more interesting and challenging experiment at every turn! Haha!

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #61 on: August 20, 2006, 05:01:48 PM »
Waz,

I haven't personally tried the most recent Donatos dough clone formulation, but I had no major problems to speak of with the various Donatos dough clones I have made to date as part of the Donatos reverse engineering project. I was hoping that Philip or one of our other members would find time to try the latest dough formulation to see if it can be replicated at normal elevations, before considering modifications to it if warranted by your experiments with it at higher elevations. So, for now, we can't rule out altitude as a possible problem in your case.

However, beyond that, it looks like you are continuing to have problems with your dough make-up and management, including the use of the parchment paper approach and dough proofing, which don't seem to be working. As I indicated previously, I sidestepped those problems by using my microwave unit for proofing purposes and a solid, nonperforated anodized cutter pan for baking the pizza. Pending the results you get with your latest dough batch, I may have to try a new dough batch based on the above formulation, scaling it down to the size of the cutter pan I have been using.

I may even alter the sequencing of ingredients I previously used and recommended to see if there is a better way to accomplish hydration of the flour. With a total of nine ingredients in the dough, this may take some thought as how best to accomplish this. I am even thinking of introducing an autolyse into the dough make-up process. I think with enough experiments under your belt you should ultimately be able to make a usable dough with confidence and certainty, but I am puzzled by the inconsistency in results you have been getting with your recent doughs. We may ultimately have to also consider lowering the total hydration of the dough to see if we can get the dough skin to proof directly on the perforated disk you are using, without having the dough seep into the holes in the disk. Maybe that is how Donatos does it.

Peter

Offline Wazatron

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2006, 11:20:07 PM »
Hi Pete - thanks again for all your comments. I really can't thank you enough.

So I was able to cook the pizza tonight but I still need to get the pictures downloaded/posted, which I'll try to do tomorrow.

I tried a new dough management system and am very happy with it!!  :chef:

First of all the dough wasn't too sticky to work with. It was tougher to roll out, but not "hard" at all. I went ahead and docked, PAM'd, and Cornmealed the dough right on the counter after rolling it out. Then I flipped it onto the perforated disk (cutting off the "overhang" to get a nice round) and proofed/cooked the pizza on the disk without any more flipping or managing.

It worked great! I had absolutely no problems proofing and cooking on one disk and it eliminated a number of steps that all added the risk of killing the 'za.

The pizza cooked at 425 for just over 8 minutes.

Visually the crust was great - I got nice browning and the bottom had that wonderful Donatos "look" to it.  The cheese did not overcook at this time/temperature and I didn't get an overly "orange" pizza.

While it tasted great, my girlfriend and I both agree that the last dough formulation tasted more like Donatos than this attempt did. However, one really great thing about this attempt was that I was able to get some of that chewy middle layer that I was unable to get in past attempts. There were places of the dough that were rolled out too thin where this layer didn't form well but other parts had the perfect thickness with all discernable Donatos "layers" present. Good stuff! The differences in thickness speak to my weakness with the rolling pin more than anything. Although I'd have to say that the places in the crust that tasted the best were probably thicker than 1/8th inch before getting sauced and cooked.

One other crust note is that I didn't get any chard crispies on the edges. I was quick to pull it out at 8 minutes due to my over-cooking-cheese fear, but I think it should/could go up to 10 to help crust browning. Although the "thinner" sections cooked and browned a lot more than the slightly "thicker" areas of the dough.

So I feel a lot of progress was made tonight. I have a dough management system that I'm very, very happy with (so long as hydration levels aren't too high) and while losing some flavor characteristics we gained some texture characteristics. An interesting position for sure!

I'm anxious for Philip or perhaps other interested members to try this out as well. I can't wait to hear other's thoughts and opinions on our trials!! :)

Again, thanks a million!!

----------------------------------
Okay, here are the pics: again, easier to post more on my website.
http://www.wasylik.com/donatos/2006-08-20/index.html
« Last Edit: August 20, 2006, 11:31:40 PM by Wazatron »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #63 on: August 21, 2006, 09:49:46 AM »
Waz,

I'm glad to hear that your last dough batch worked out better. Based on your comments, I have a few of my own and a few questions:

1) You indicated in your earlier post that you used 3 1/4 ounces of water. Is that correct? If so, that would significantly lower the hydration ratio, both before and after accounting for the water in the egg. The hydration aspects of eggs can be tricky because the amount of water in the eggs will vary with age and make it a bit difficult to know its true effects on hydration. It may even be necessary at some point to adjust the hydration of the basic dough formulation to account for the uncertain effects of eggs on hydration, but for now, I won't adjust the Donatos dough clone formulation because it may be that the lower hydration is needed in your case because of elevation issues. I'd rather wait to get feedback from others at lower elevations. However, I can modify the formulation for you personally and your circumstances if you'd like.

2) It does appear from your most recent experiment that the dough can be proofed directly on the disk--and only a single disk--which is important good news and seems to confirm that Donatos proofs directly on disks. It's hard to imagine a different approach for a large-scale commercial operation.

3) You indicated that the latest pizza didn't taste as much like the Donatos pizzas as the last one. Was the crust too "eggy" or was there some other taste difference? Possibly a textural difference? Or because the edges didn't crisp up as much? If the crust was too "eggy", the fomulation can be easily adjusted to lower the amount of eggs slightly.

4) In the last dough formulation, I increased the thickness factor to make it easier for you to roll the dough out to the desired size while allowing for a little bit of dough to be left over for trimming purposes. Was the dough/crust thickness better this time? And did it affect the eating experience in any way? Was it closer to a Donatos crust thickness this time? It is easy enough to adjust the thickness factor again if you would like to do that.

5) I agree that it might have been possible to allow the pizza to remain in the oven for a bit longer to get more crisping at the edges. That is something you will have to experiment with in your particular oven, including rack positioning, temperature and duration of the bake. You might also roll the outer edge of the dough skin to be a bit thinner and bake up faster than the rest of the pizza.

6) I notice your reference to using PAM spray to oil the disk. I don't know if that is what Donatos does, but you might consider using regular oil because of its better overall quality and maybe it will produce a better crust color and flavor.

The photos do look nice and, from the earlier photos of Donatos pizzas, I could have easily been fooled. I think you are getting closer. I hope you will archive the photos at your website.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 11:57:53 AM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #64 on: August 22, 2006, 04:29:12 PM »
Hi there Pete. I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can.

1.   Yes, I did use just 3 1/4th oz water for this one. It seemed like anything more just made the dough too sticky to work with effectively. It’d be interesting to see how much elevation plays a part in this!

2.   Yes! I was very happy with this! The less messing with the dough, the better the final product! At least for me! :)

3.   There were a few differences. The most notable was that the curst seemed more “bland” than previous attempts. This could simply be because I was only able to give it about a 30 hr fermentation instead of 48-50. I hesitate saying it was too eggy, but it could have been. I looked at some pictures of this one compared to my first post of the actual Donatos pie and the air bubbles in the middle-layer of mine are much larger comparatively. The mouth-feel of the dough was still right on, however. The only other real crust issue was the lack of charred crispies on the edges. Perhaps rolling them out as you suggested might help too.

4.   The thickness was very uneven this time – but that’s my fault. As you can see below some parts were too thin and not achieving any of that nice middle-layer, while other parts were too thick and had too many large(ish) bubbles.
One of the problems that I have that causes this is “pulling” up the dough from the counter and getting it onto the disk – this stretches out some parts, making them too thin.

5.   I think I’ll shoot for 10 min. next time and just let it cook. :)

6.   I’ll definitely try real oil. I had been using pam mostly as an easy-applicator for the cornmeal. But as the dough management procedure gets better I’ll wean myself off of it. Haha

I’ll definitely archive the pictures and keep them up as long as possible. I don’t anticipate the site going anywhere for many many years to come. I will try to post more pictures within posts to it’s not necessary to leave the site, but I don’t like overburdening the threads with a ton of pictures.

I’ll be in Columbus again next week so I’ll be sampling the real-deal again. When I get back I think I’m going to cook two clones, one using this most recent dough and one using the previous formulation and do a side by side blind taste-test.

As usual thanks for the help!!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 09:43:44 AM by Steve »

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #65 on: August 22, 2006, 04:44:59 PM »
Sorry for the quick follow up post, but in looking over everything a question came to mind that actually baffles me and it’s made me wonder about cooking times and temperatures.

One thing I’ve been unable to replicate at all is the “height” of the pizza. For example, whenever I cook a pizza clone everything kind of flattens out as thing melt/cook/etc. I end up with a very flat disk looking pizza.

One of the biggest flavor and mouth-feel characteristics of Donatos is the “height” of the pizza – it’s not flat at all. All the topping sit-up on the pizza, for lack of a better term, and you really need to open your mouth to take a bite. They never look like a 2-dimensional pizza.

I also was looking at the mushrooms comparatively. Both pies are using fresh sliced mushrooms, yet mine look more cooked and again “flat” as they baked into the cheese. I’d have to say that this “height” characteristic is actually one of the predominant aspects of Donatos that needs to be achieved for a perfect “clone”. It didn’t really hit me until I’ve been able to look at the comparison pictures between my clones and the real thing. I seem to be working in 2D! Haha!
 :-D

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #66 on: August 22, 2006, 06:08:51 PM »
Waz,

Now that you have been making the Donatos clones, you should be in a pretty good position to detect the differences between the clones and the real thing when you go to Ohio soon. Please keep notes along with the photos so that we have them available to us when we move on to the next iteration. The key points are flavor (particularly the eggs), texture and thickness. If you are in a position to observe the preparation of the pizzas, that might offer some insights also. Or at least confirm our present practices. As Yogi Berra has noted: You can observe a lot by just watching.

I think the blandness in the crust may have been because we increased the amount of egg without changing the salt. We might nudge up the amount of salt next time. Maybe to 1.8%. That will still keep the salt in the right place in the ingredients pecking order.

The crust "height" issue may have a few possible explanations. It might be the use of bromated flour. This is a possibility that has been discussed before and may be something you may want to revisit. I don't believe that Donatos pre-bakes the crusts before adding the sauce, cheese and toppings, but pre-baking the crust will allow the crust to rise unfettered by the weight of cheeses and toppings and develop a thickness that will remain even after adding the sauce, cheese and toppings. Also, since the toppings won't cook as long as a result, they won't look as though they were cooked as long, as you noted, for example, with respect to the mushrooms. And the toppings might not "sink" into the cheese as much. In a home oven environment, pre-baking the docked crust should only take a couple of minutes-- just until the crust turns a light brown in color. Adding the sauce, cheese and toppings later should also allow more time for the crust to bake and develop a crispy characteristic.

As a further comment on dough thickness and rolling techniques, when I roll out a dough ball to make a thin skin I use a wooden tapered French-style rolling pin. I originally bought it to roll out pie dough after reading that it was Julia Child's favorite rolling pin among the many she owned. I think it gives greater control over the rolling process. I roll the dough out just as I do a pie dough, turning the dough skin by 90-degree steps as I roll it out, to achieve and maintain a uniform thickness. In your case, in order to prevent the thickness from changing as you lift the docked dough skin onto the disk (oiled and with the cornmeal), you might lightly but uniformly dust the top of the skin with a bit of flour and gently fold the skin in half or in quarters, place the folded skin on the disk, and then unfold. This is the same technique I use for fitting a pie dough into a baking dish. The risk is that the skin can stick on itself if you don't use enough dusting flour to prevent this. An alternative approach is to roll out the dough on a Silpat-type surface and, after trimming the skin to size, oil it and add the cornmeal, put the disk on the trimmed-out skin, and flip the disk over, just as you did when you used the parchment paper. Maybe this approach will work better than the parchment paper.

Peter


Offline marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #67 on: August 24, 2006, 07:57:46 PM »
Do you 100% feel eggs are in this recipe?

Or could it be a powder egg white?

Ive skipped through your threads and might have missed this but do they come as dough balls or already ran though a sheeter?

Marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #68 on: August 24, 2006, 09:30:26 PM »
Marty,

The ingredients list as provided in an earlier post says eggs, and the Donatos founder says eggs also. And Wazatron says he can taste the eggs in a Donatos crust. I am fairly confindent that the eggs are pasteurized. The Donatos dough apparently is delivered from a commissary to stores in frozen form. I'm not sure whether the dough is sheeted and cut into skins before freezing or whether frozen dough balls are delivered to stores and thawed and processed there into skins. We have been working with fresh doughs, not frozen, and we have eliminated all of the chemicals recited in the ingredients list that are used as preservatives, conditioners, etc.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 11:14:33 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #69 on: August 25, 2006, 11:19:08 AM »
Peter,

Thanks for the reply.. I will take some time to read all the threads to this.

Well the reason I asked if the dough comes pre sheeted or balls, is because I have had dough producers send me the same formula in both forms and the pre sheeted seemed not to rise as much in the end. Even if I sheeted the balls thinner than what they did.
It also seemed a little more crispier.

Eggs, are you thinking they are whole or just the whites?

Thanks,

Marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #70 on: August 25, 2006, 12:53:17 PM »
Marty,

I think the pieces will better fall into place if you do read the posts in this thread. I have found that you have to search for clues like Sherlock Holmes to try to piece together the complete picture.

With a highly commercialized dough product such as Donatos uses, and which can change at any moment, it's hard to know exactly what is in a Donatos dough at the moment. However, the list of ingredients that Wazatron set forth in Reply 12 came from Donatos itself. And, as you will note, it includes eggs. Jim Grote, the founder of Donatos and the current CEO, for a long time made a point of the dough recipe being an old family recipe (he talked about his mother making the dough in her kitchen) that included eggs and milk. And, for some time, this point was emphasized even at the Donatos website and in other promotional materials. However, when I tried to track down the eggs and milk quote today at the Donatos website, I could not find it. So, Grote and Donatos may be deemphasizing the eggs and milk part of the old family story. That would make sense if you are trying to grow the business and are trying to position yourself among the giants of the retail pizza industry rather than tying yourself to the past. Of course, it could also mean that Donatos is no longer using eggs and milk or are in the process of phasing them out. If so, I suspect that Wazatron, with his highly developed Donatos pizza palate, should be able to tell when he next visits Donatos on his upcoming trip.

However, if eggs are indeed being currently used, and if the ingredients list is to be believed, then I believe the eggs are whole eggs, most likely in pasteurized form because of potential cross-contamination and other health-related issues. Also, if only egg whites were being used, then I believe that governmental regulations would require that egg whites be specifically listed. Otherwise, the consumer, especially one with health (e.g., allergies) or nutrition concerns, would not be able to know whether there may be a problem in using the product.

As far as the form of frozen dough is concerned, the early writings on Donatos said that the dough was rolled at a commissary and delivered frozen to the individual stores. That could well have changed and maybe frozen skins are now being used at the local store level. For our purposes, of course, it doesn't matter. Wazatron and others will be using fresh dough and everything will be done in a home setting, including trying to replicate the individual steps that go into making a skin, docking and proofing it, and using a perforated disk to bake the pizza on.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 11:17:02 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2006, 01:58:09 PM »
Peter,

Wow, that is a lot of egg in one batch. for a large batch of dough (25lb) your looking at like 2 dozen eggs.

P.S. I did want to thank you for you knowledge and researce you do. I read alot of your post and must say has helped.  ;D

Ive read your thread on donatos Im from ohio and live about 45min from one. The next time i'm by one I will stop so I can try to give some contribution.

Thanks,
Marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #72 on: August 25, 2006, 02:27:13 PM »
Thanks, Marty.

You are just about right on the amount of eggs for 25 lbs. of dough. It would be a bit over 2 dozen large eggs. I didn't think about it earlier, but I suppose the eggs could be dried eggs. That would fit the commercial process better.

I do occasionally see dough recipes that call for eggs but they are quite rare. They are usually old recipes that were handed down from a family member or from one pizza operator to a new operator. Tom Lehmann highly discourages use of fresh shell eggs, as well as milk products, in a commercial setting. Maybe Donatos is rethinking their use.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 02:40:21 PM by Pete-zza »

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2006, 03:17:16 PM »
Peter,

Thats why I was asking if your findings were 100% sure they were using eggs or powdered eggs.

I went to the store to see about pasteurized eggs and for 12oz it cost me nearly $3.00
and for a 25 lb. of flour batch it would take over 3 of them. Thats shoots your dough cost through the roof as a pizza company point of view.

I own a small pizza shop and like to experiment all the time to make that perfect crust :-D

I have always want to add egg to our crust. But I have met with  tom lehmann a few times and he has steered me away from it.

That doesnt mean I dont want to atleast try it to see ;)

I will try and see what happens and let you know,
Thanks,
Marty

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Re: Donatos Pizza - anyone got a recipe?
« Reply #74 on: August 25, 2006, 03:32:26 PM »
Marty,

What you say makes a lot of sense. Maybe back in the old days when real eggs and milk were used, the Grote family could have gotten some marketing mileage out of that. But if they are now using dried eggs and dried milk and dried dairy whey, that doesn't sound especially yummy to me. I think I would try to hide that from the public.

I have found experimenting with eggs in a pizza dough quite interesting. It's a good way to learn how eggs change the chemistry of the dough as well as the handling characteristics.

Peter